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Artist shows ‘Domestic’ photographs

Spotlighted disconnections in familiar settings of household atmospheres make viewers dive deep into their psyches at the Cal State Long Beach student art galleries this week.

Jonathan Castillo, CSULB photography major, uses photography to depict the homestead world in his ongoing project, “The Domestic.” Two photos from the project are a part of the “Exposure: Development of Emerging Artists” exhibition in the Matov L. Gatov Gallery.

Castillo’s work puts viewers inside different domestic scenarios, such as watching television with the family or doing homework on the dining room table.

Spotlights on the central figures of each photograph close into a moment of disconnection within the household scene. In one photo, a girl sitting on the couch is spotlighted as she gazes into empty air, detaching herself from her family, who is watching television.

While the photos are able to touch on human psychology, Castillo mentions that he has no background in the subject.

“It comes from my own family and relationships with people who you are living with,” Castillo said.

Castillo triggers insightful responses from viewers with his photos.

“My immediate reaction was a true-life soap opera,” Brittany Kauffman, photography major said. “It seems natural but staged at the same time.”

The ongoing project, which was started one year ago, displays stressful situations that can come from living with loved ones. However, the photos can also be seen in a positive light.

“There can be a good disconnection, which is a healthy thing to have,” Castillo said.

The photos are a part of a group exhibition curated by fine arts major Eric Omori, who also has work displayed in the gallery. Other student artists included in the exhibit are Baruch Prince, Candace Wakefield, Cameron Smith, Jake Chadine and Kristina Pallotto.

All of the students who are a part of the exhibition are in the photography program as well as the Photo Club at CSULB, Omori said. The club allows photo students to critique each other’s works and go over ideas for future projects.

Aesthetically, the photos work well with one another. Every wall has a congruent theme that leads the viewer’s eye to the next work.

Currently, Castillo is working on several projects, including a recent series entitled “Car Culture.” Inspired by New York photographer Philip Lorca, who is famous for his collection “Heads” that consists of candid shots of New York pedestrians, Castillo takes to the streets of Los Angeles and captures candid photographs of individuals in their cars.

While not working on various projects, Castillo takes part in commercial photography where he shoots headshots of artists as well as promotional photos of products.

Students can view Castillo’s work in the gallery or on his website at johmichaelphoto.com.

The exhibition will run until Thursday. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays; noon to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays; and noon to 5 p.m. on Thursdays.

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